Q: Please tell us about yourself, educational background and the path that led you to the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub). Tell us about any adversity you faced in your studies and how you overcame your challenges.
Craig: I work at Co-Creation Hub, where I oversee the different education-focused initiatives. I studied Computing and love technology and startups. Talking about adversity, none particularly comes to mind at the moment, but what has helped me in the past and still continues to do so is having a proactive mindset. Rather than focusing on the problems and constants that can’t change it’s more helpful to focus on variables that you can.
Q: Tell us about the Co-Creation Hub: Why the Co-Creation Hub? And who created it? What programs and services do you offer and who do you serve?
Craig: CcHUB is a social innovation centre that supports entrepreneurs or startups that are building solutions to social challenges in the Country. The Hub provides support ranging from funding to mentorship, depending on the requirements of the startup in question. The Hub was founded by ‘Bosun Tijani and Femi Longe, with Tunji Eleso as part of the management team.
The Hub has a range of services, ranging from pre-incubation and incubation, research and usability review and testing. There’s more information on the website at www.cchubnigeria.com. We also recently launched Growth Capital, our investment fund, and re:learn our new EdTech practice.
Q: Can you please elaborate on CcHub's EdTEch practice – re:learn?
Craig: re:learn is an open living lab focused on learning and smart application of technology in schools. Technology has the potential to bridge the education gap, especially putting into consideration the lack of infrastructure. Our focus at relearn is to find out ways we can adapt technology to enhance the learning experience in schools, and also teach kids about how to use and create technology.
Q: Why coding?
Craig: For our initiatives that involve teaching young people how to program computers, we focus on teaching kids computational thinking, which is basically a problem solving approach, based on how computers work that can be applied to every day life. We also lay emphasis on developing their soft skills, and also focus on things like project management, collaboration and presentation. We don’t expect everyone to become computer scientists or software engineers but we’re equipping kids with skills that are critical for the 21st century.
Q: In your opinion, what groups in Nigeria are the most underrepresented in STEM? Secondly, what key steps should we undertake to promote scientific literacy and STEM amongst these specific science and technology underrepresented groups?
Craig: For the demographic we work with the widest gap will be between kids from well to do homes and kids from homes that are not as wealthy. For instance, where kids from upper and middle class homes have access to devices - either laptops, iPads or mobile phones, those devices are not as readily available from kids from lower earning households. Those students are denied from understanding how technology works and are unable to take advantage of its many offerings. Technology is not only become increasingly pervasive, but it is also an enabler, and in many cases an enabler, it is therefore very important to bridge that gap as early as possible to give students a better chance at succeeding in future. In addition to that there’s the gender ratio which can be improved.
Regarding steps to take, I believe the first step will be assessing the current state of things, understanding the challenges, identifying the opportunities and then designing programs within the context of what’s possible. For instance, it’s not just enough to equip labs with computers, while that’s a good start what’s even more important is ensuring the skills and resources (power, internet) are available to maximize the use of the facilities.
Q: Finally, in your estimation, what is the importance of STEM education in the socio-economic development of Nigeria?
Craig: STEM education is important in ensuring that we bridge the digital and economic divide, not just within the country. It’s also one of the fastest ways that we can build solutions to problems directly affecting us in the society. To improve our chances, it’s important to educate the next generation not just about how to use technology, but also more importantly about how to apply smartly technology to create solutions to real challenges.